Less Fighting

When my kids were little they would constantly fight over who got to sit in the back seat of the van. Tired of trying to remember who sat where last and how many times, etc., I devised a simple rule: If today's date was an odd number, my oldest got to have the back seat, and if it was an even number, my youngest did. They never had a conflict about this again. I applied this rule to other things as well- mixing it up since there are more odd than even days. I know this only works with two kids, but hope the principle will inspire other ideas. Less fighting = happy mom!

Lights Off

This is something which made life easier in the long run, but may not see instant results. When I was growing up we had a period of time where we had to put 25 cents in a jar if we left a room and forgot to turn the light off. For every time the parents caught us turning a light off we would get 5 cents back. It works with smaller amounts as well like 5 or 10 cents if you forget and a penny if you remember. That money usually piled up and went towards things which us kids would use or play with. So, there was a positive reward for forgetting the lights in the end, but it taught us always to think about the light switch before leaving a room. Now it is so second nature that lights get turned out while people are still in the room!

Reading Before Bed

I always read to my children before bed. It gives us ten to fifteen minutes every day to relax with each other. It is never skipped even if the night has run long because that is our time together everyday. Always have time at end of day with children is my tip.

Picking Out Clothes for School

 No clothes for the day were put on until breakfast was eaten and teeth were brushed. This helped not have milk or toothpaste on the days clothes and having to start over.

Picking out Outfits

Once my girls got to the ages that they didn't like my taste in clothes for them, I would allow them to pick out a group of tops or pants or dresses or whatever, and then I would tell them which of the clothes they had picked out that I would allow them to wear. They got clothes they felt were stylish and I retained control over appropriateness.

Job Jar

Discipline: We have a job jar with simple (5 minute) jobs inside. Whenever our kids are not listening, not obeying, etc., we tell them "Job Jar". They must reach in and get a job and a timer, set it for 5 minutes, and do the job. It helps me not get so frustrated and it teaches them to do work and that there are consequences to wrong actions. The house gets a little cleaner in the process! Jobs might be: washing the windows, lint brush the couch, vacuum the stairs, read, learn a Bible verse, etc. We also have a slip of paper that says, "Mercy!" They love getting that one!

Memorizing Phone Number

In order to help my five year old memorize my cell phone number I used it as the code to unlock our iPad. He has to enter it anytime he plays on it. Once he has that memorized, we'll change it to my husband's number.

White Noise App

We have a new Grand baby girl - soon to be four months old. My daughter-in-law found an app on her phone called "white noise". One of the sounds is a running vacuum sweeper. This thing is magic! When little Haddie is fussy and doesn't want to go to sleep, she simply turns this on and the baby immediately calms down and is happy once again and often falls asleep. Needless to say, I (her Nana) now have this free app on my phone also!

Plane Travel with Kids

With two young children in tow, my wife developed a trick for making our flights between Champaign and San Diego for visiting grandparents much more peaceful for both us and those on the plane. Essentially, my wife would go to the dollar store and buy very inexpensive, yet creative gifts for the kids. These are things like reading books, coloring pages with ink pens, or puzzles, and each would cost less than $1.00 per item. After purchasing them, all of the gifts would be individually wrapped as "presents" for the flight. Once on the airplane, the kids each receive a present every 30 minutes or hour. This provides some excitement, entertainment, and incentive for good behavior the entire 4 hours en route. We always received compliments about how well the kids were behaved, little did people know why. We now do this in car trips and everywhere we go that involves traveling 4 or more hours. My wife is brilliant!

Assign a Day

Assign each day of the week to a family member. The child or parent of the day picks their choices, like what to eat for every meal (this helps the grocery list & picky eaters), goes first for games, picks tv/movie, etc. However, they have to set the table, wash the table & vacuum after every meal, empty the garbage, & have attitudes/behaviors glorifying to God to keep their day.